My Idea: Ontario Provincial Election Edition

So, I have already voted in the upcoming Ontario Election, but it got me thinking what my platform would look like. There has been some controversy with certain parties not providing a platform yet with the main vote a little over a week away… So without further ado, here’s what I’d want to do.

TAXES

  • Increase Tax on the wealthy by 1% for families earning more than $200k/yr and 2% on families earning more than $500k/yr and 3% on families earning more than $1m/yr.
  • Close tax skipping loopholes for business and private individuals.
  • Tax corporate automation – businesses should be able to pass some money towards the support coffers as they’ve saved staff costs. Set typical employment numbers for corporations of different sizes as they are today. If a corporation has more employees, they aren’t hit with this tax. If they have fewer employees than typical revenue numbers would expect then levy a 5% automation tax on gross revenues.
  • Create a 5% consumption tax on certain product types. So in Ontario it would be 18% tax on qualified items.
    • Cell phones over $500 retail price (price change indexed with inflation)
    • Computers over $1000 retail price (price change indexed with inflation)
    • Cars over $50,000 retail price (price change indexed with inflation)
    • Junk food (chips, pop, candy, chocolate, popcorn, etc…)
    • Cigarettes, Marijuana, Alcohol
  • Increase tax on home purchases by 1% on houses above median provincial cost. (Currently around $500k).
  • Setup a better water tax for companies using Ontario’s water resources based on how much water they use. The more they use, the higher they’ll be taxed based on the amount of water used and gross revenue to make sure we don’t bankrupt small companies but also earn back more from larger organizations such as water bottling plants.
  • Simplify rules/tax system for businesses under $500k in profit and/or five or fewer employees.
  • Exempt minimum wage workers from Provincial income tax.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Increase the provincial budget for building renewable energy systems in Ontario.
  • Switch from Cap and Trade to straight Carbon taxation.
  • Continue and grow the electric vehicle rebate program to make electric vehicles more affordable.

HEALTHCARE

We can’t assume employees will extend more benefits and while we can attempt to mandate it, I believe a more comprehensive system is required by the government to fill the gaps that businesses have made.

  • Free glasses (up to $500/2 years) and dental care (up to $1000/year) for children 18 and under including any medically necessary procedures/requirements such as braces, retainers, eye surgery and of course any accidental needs.
  • For 19+ free basic glasses (no transitions, no coatings, frames under $200) [every 2 years] and preventative dental care (scaling, cleaning, fillings) for all.
  • Build new nursing homes and long-term care beds. Rush project (to be completed within 2 years) with 1 new bed per 5,000 citizens. (~2,800 new beds across Ontario). With a further 1 new bed per 3,000 in the next 4 years. (~4,700 more). And if I were to stay on for 8 years, I’d expect another 5,000 beds to be in place for a total of 12,500 beds in 8 years.
  • Mental health illness treated like any other illness. Increase training for nurses and doctors related to mental health needs.
  • Increase number of counsellors, psychiatrists and therapists in hospitals to a minimum of 1 per 10,000 people served by the hospital (1400 new positions).
  • Add 1 to 2 mental health care workers to each public and high school board (~200 positions).
  • Reduce wait times for a youth’s (under 19) first support appointment to no more than 14 days when dealing with depression, suicidal ideation, emotional issues that could lead to suicide by prioritizing it over other mental health needs.
  • Provide government health coverage to individuals earning less than $60k a year for counselling support through internet solutions like BetterHelp, phone solutions, and in-person options to a maximum of $2,000 per year.
  • Free drug coverage under OHIP for families making under $100k/year.
  • The government will cover the costs of minimally invasive fertility treatment options (such as medication, fertility testing and cycle monitoring)
  • Double the number of midwives from 900 to 1800 over the next 4 years.
  • The government provided benefits should be visible on a website to see what was used and when. So you can see what you qualify for, what you’ve used, what you have remaining and when it refreshes.

EDUCATION

  • Free college-level education for all.
  • Continue the new OSAP style system for University students where kids of families making under $60k/year have access to free education at any level.
  • Forgive 25% of each currently held student loan converting them to bursaries received.
  • All current and future student loans from the OSAP program should be interest-free.
  • Amalgamate public and Catholic school boards (elementary and high school). No more religious schools showing a priority for one religion over another. Allow high schools to have religion classes as optional electives, but it must be inclusive religion education.
  • Add mental health training to health classes in all high schools – managing stress, dealing with anxiety, combatting depression, identifying mental illness.
  • Eliminate the EQAO testing.
  • Cap kindergarten class sizes to 15 children per teacher/teacher assistant with a max cap of 30 in a room and stop any split year classes.

CHILDCARE

  • For those not planning to immediately go back into the workforce, increase Maternity leave to 3 years with their position no longer guaranteed after 14 months but government benefits continuing through that time. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their family and heading back to work before they are ready. A single income family should be able to thrive.
  • Enforce a $15/day/child daycare standard.
  • Those earning less than $60k/yr provided free childcare at public, licensed, not-for-profit child care centres.
  • Increase the number of public, licensed, not-for-profit child care centres.
  • We will need to cut many current subsidies for parents/childcare for this plan to work.

MEDIA

  • Fight for tighter CRTC rules on telecom.
  • Cell phone plan with 1gb data, unlimited texting and local calling for $30/m.
  • Unlimited bandwidth 15 meg down Internet for $30/m.
  • Work with the CRTC to pressure telecom companies to provide Ontario with data plans similar to what is available in other provinces.

FIRST NATIONS

  • Reserves should be treated like any other city or town in Ontario with the same expectation for services (roads, water, power, internet). That should be a top priority!
  • Increase opportunities for First Nations teachers to be employed by public schools by carving out the budget for a First Nations Cultural Administrator position in all elementary schools with a goal of teaching First Nations history and culture to all Canadians. Find ways to help teachers include it in all subjects, organize cultural events, and train teachers.
  • Create a $5m per year fund for First Nations Cultural Archiving to employ people to collect First Nations language (audio, video, text), digitize art (to make it available for everyone to see), and create First Nations focused educational books (how to uphold traditions, history and culture information).

My overall goal is to incorporate the First Nations into Canada’s melting pot and provide them with the same opportunities as everyone else and providing them opportunities to share and hopefully strengthen their culture.

GOVERNMENT

  • Raise the floor so the lowest of us are taken care of (guaranteed basic income of $24k/year) the goal of getting people out of big cities and moving Ontario towards a digital economy. Every single person 18+ gets $2,000 every month to spend as they will.
  • It will require a raise in taxes on families making more than $85k (including the Basic Income, so an additional $37k/yr employment income) with the system able to recoup the full basic income stipend at $150k/family level and above (so $102k income from employment + the 48k in UBI).
  • End government support programs for low-income earners with exceptions for parents (child bonus should exist @ $500/year/child to a max of $1500/year) and those with medical needs (ODSP).
  • Decrease government staff by 10% through retirement and strategic hiring freezes.
  • End First Past the Post for Provincial Elections. Your choice matters. You shouldn’t be voting thinking about who you don’t want to win. Switch to ranked ballots using the Alternative Vote system.
  • Quarterly allowances for political parties should be capped at $500,000 (increasing at the rate of inflation) per political party. Election campaigns should not be able to take any type or style of corporate donations. Election campaigns should not be able to take free services or request free publicity.
  • Work with the Federal government to create a single source Government site. Citizens should be allowed to easily use data from one service, such as tax details and share it with another government tool. For example, OSAP, if proof of income is needed you should be able to request that the CRA sends it to OSAP by either a permissions management system or some kind of OAuth-esque/API solution that allows a one-time connection between the two services. This should work for all government websites.

BUSINESSES

  • Work towards a 50x max executive compensation based on the median income of non-executive full-time staff. So if the median wage is $50k, then max executive compensation is $2.5m which includes bonuses, stock options, etc… Every $1000 an executive increases median wage is another $50,000 they can increase their own.
  • Domestic contract workers and part-time workers that work 30 hours per week or more (4 weeks in any quarter) must be extended the option to “buy into” any corporate health benefits options that full-time workers receive.
  • 5 guaranteed paid sick days for part-time workers, 10 guaranteed for full-time workers with no doctor’s note required.

TRANSIT

  • We need some high-speed rail along the Ontario Corridor (London to Ottawa with stops in London, Hamilton, Toronto, Oshawa, and Ottawa) at a speed of no less than 250 KPH. I would fight to make that possible.
  • We also need additional spending in public transportation across the province. (Busses, trains, subway, etc).
  • Work with GO Transit to extend GO service to be constantly two-way between 6am and 6pm Monday through Friday.
  • Free transit passes for those 55+.
  • Trucks over 18’ long should pay congestion charges if they run on any 400 highway in the GTHA between 8am – 10am and 4pm – 6pm.

SENIORS

  • No income tax on seniors with an income equivalent to minimum wage.
  • No taxes on support products for seniors (walkers, wheelchairs, canes, etc…)
  • Exempt from consumption tax.
  • Creation of seniors clubs, exercise programs, and activity programs to keep seniors engaged and provided the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
  • Public transparency on costs of senior care. We all need to understand the costs of serving an ageing baby boomer population and work together to look for solutions and opportunities to provide the best service at a cost that doesn’t cripple our province.

OTHER

  • Libraries as community centres/technology training centres – invest heavily in providing 3d printers, VR, AR and training for librarians.

I understand that this plan contains something that everyone can dislike, but hopefully, it also contains a line item that everyone likes. There are a lot of needs in this province and the choice we have to make is between taking care of those in need and going into further debt or making this province another “everyone fend for themselves” place. I will also admit, I don’t know the money side of any of this. I tried to think of ways to increase the revenue of the provincial government to be able to pay for some of these plans, and it might be a bit too much tax and spend, but I believe that is the kind of solution we need. In my opinion, we can’t cut services right now as there are too many people in at-risk positions, but we also can’t keep spending a ton of money we don’t have forever and think that’s okay. A compromise must be created while continuing to hold true to the ideals of Canada.

I hope you found this interesting. Feel free to comment, to pick it apart, to point out what you liked and didn’t like. I really don’t mind as I am no expert in this arena, just a creative citizen fortunate enough to have the time to imagine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.